P-DALE (Unit 102 Collective) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

If Quentin Tarantino decided to write and direct an episode of Entourage and then turn it into a play, that play would be P-Dale. I thoroughly enjoyed my hour spent with this cast today at the Theatre Passe Murraille. I chose the play on a whim. I liked how their Fringe program blurb stated “DO NOT BRING YOUR KIDS. SERIOUSLY.” That was enough to bring me in and it is this same irreverent humour that fills the play to the brim.

This is in fact a play about violence in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood, but unlike other shows that I have seen tackle this same theme in this year’s Fringe, it is funny. For me, that works better in hammering the point home then any overdramatized monologue on gun violence ever could.

It is the story of four guys and the Vietnamese convenience store owner that they intend to rob. The banter between the four is real and hilarious. You’ll find that they actually will talk over each other at will. The writing here is robust and the characters and relationships are extremely relatable.

There is Snoop – the good guy who went down the wrong path but is trying to make it right; Walker – sweet, older, homeless and addicted who looks exactly like someone you’d see begging for change; Hipster/B-alls, the one they all look up to; and, pretty much walking away with the show, is Twizzle.

Luis Ferandes’s Twizzle is such a hilariously realized character that it is hard to believe him as anything other than a rapper who tries too hard to prove himself. This is a character with real legs that could be in stand-up or a film. In fact, the whole play reads like a film when they aren’t busy breaking the forth wall.

At one point, really for no reason, Twizzle starts talking to the audience and then, when he is ready, goes back to the play. Each character is given the chance to do the same in various forms of soliloquies. I guess because it is a play they are having fun with that convention. It’s a funny choice.

I enjoyed Gene Abella’s very hilarious portrayal of storeowner Mr. Leung as well. He also provides the voice of a case of beer. Abella is one funny dude.

I also have to say that this play fully uses the uniqueness of Theatre Pass Murraille’s Mainspace. It reads as though it was written for this stage.

I go back to the Tarantino reference because I truly believe Fernandes has tapped into that wit with his writing. It is the story of four guys who try to commit a crime and need to work with their personalities and the hilariously weird things that life has thrown them in order to get the job done. Remember this show because if they do make it into a film, you’ll want to go see it. But if you do, don’t bring your kids. Seriously.

P-Dale plays at the Theatre Passe Muraille’s Mainspace, 16 Ryerson Ave (North of Queen Street, East of Bathurst Street)

Thu, July 14 7:00 PM
Fri, July 15 6:15 PM
Sat, July 16 1:45 PM

– All individual Fringe tickets are $10 ($5 for FringeKids) at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at www.fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062, in person at The Fringe Test, 581 Bloor St. W. (Advance tickets are $11 – $10+$1 convenience fee)
– Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows

2 thoughts on “P-DALE (Unit 102 Collective) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review”

  1. … this really sounds like a gem! .. and, the more toronto draws on toronto as a source of inspiration, the closer we come, i think, to heading back to the roots of theatre as a community exercise, a medium for exploring our local reality, to ask ‘where do we live?’ … and that this work seems to do that with genuine wit, and really exploring the medium of theatre itself, playing around with its own relationship to the audience — not taking itself too seriously — makes my smile. …

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